Lessons to learn about Climate Change from Covid-19

Doctor holding a globe with a protective mask

Is there any similarity between COVID-19 & climate change? Yes. Both are real & happening now. 

Both need a change in lifestyle and a call to action by the public. But, it is the level of inaction by the public that can be frustrating. With COVID-19, many people still live in a state of denial that it cannot happen to them. This is despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that it can be deadly. For those not experiencing its ill effects - there is almost an element of indifference. The media recently reported that huge numbers of people visited parks and beaches. This was despite strong advice not to. 

Climate change is very similar in that respect. Devastating natural disasters are increasing in frequency and well documented. Yet there is still an insufficient call to action by many people and governments. 

Water crises happened in Cape Town (in South Africa) & Chennai (in India) - where these cities ran out of fresh water. There have been devastating fires in Australia. US coastal regions have experienced major flooding. Europe has experienced deadly heatwaves. 

These events should alert people to be more mindful about consumption habits ... and its impact on climate change. But it has not done so at a rate where meaningful results are seen.

COVID-19 forced many governments to order lockdowns. They took this action to rein people in, and force them to behave responsibly. Many economies globally, both rich and poor, opted for this measure. This is despite knowing the economic disaster that they would face - by grinding to a sudden halt. Many people suffered major financial hardship. 

Many developed nations have taken on huge amounts of debt to bail out their economies. For many of these countries, this debt is unaffordable. How this debt will be serviced and repaid is not a decision for today... future generations will be responsible to pick up the tab. It will be difficult for them to do so - and they are likely to experience significant financial hardship. 

Knowing all this, why is it that governments are taking such aggressive measures? The answer is – with COVID-19, danger is imminent. Almost every government has this problem sitting right on their doorstep. The fear is there - forcing them to be pro-active. 

The effects of climate change are also real. It poses an equal level of threat – if not more – compared to the COVID-19. But it is not taken seriously yet for 3 major reasons: 

  • Powerful Influencers: There is lobbying by major and powerful companies in the fossil-fuel industry. They block attempts to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases. Often powerful companies dominate key sectors of the economy e.g. energy & agriculture. Some of them are also major players in dictating economic policies. For example, the pre-dominant use of GM cotton seeds in India. A handful of companies sell these. 

Plenty of research shows that a major water shortage has the potential to cause war & conflict. There is a theory that within 50 years we could lose the Amazon Forest. It may sound like a grave situation - but it does not strike enough fear to motivate most people into taking action. 

These events are forecast to happen in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time – a time-frame most people cannot envision now. 

  • Politics: The voting public judge politicians on the impact their policies have on the prosperity of the economy. They (the public) see if there is any benefit in it for them. 

Adopting eco-friendly initiatives aggressively - might benefit everyone in the long term. For example, reducing carbon footprint significantly. Also making the use of green energy mandatory. 

But it is relatively expensive to adopt these initiatives. It would thus be unpopular among politicians & the wider public. Immediate gains - at the expense of long term consequences - is preferred. Short term sacrifices - in exchange for future benefits - is not.

The effects of climate change looks likely to get more intense with the passage of time. This is if we can rely on research and science. Natural calamities can be catastrophic. It can affect people mentally & physically. It can also be financially devastating to people and economies. Because we cannot see events in the present - it does not mean that it cannot happen. 

However, adopting clean living and eco-friendly habits should not be done just out of fear. There should be a deeper understanding of why we all ought to do this. It is a way for all to re-connect with nature and tune in to our true selves. 

It’s about being respectful and compassionate to all living beings… whether human or other forms of life. It is about understanding that they, like us, also play an important role in the well-being of our planet. It is about being mindful of our consumption habits. It is understanding the impact our purchases have on the world’s resources... including the health and well-being of our fellow human beings. It is about choosing quality over quantity. Understanding that less is more.

All countries are united in the fight against COVID 19. The world came to a halt for a period of time. Everyone is sacrificing convenience. A heavy price is being paid in the short term in hoping for a better future. 

If climate change is similar in logic to the COVID 19 shouldn’t we all be adopting the same stance? Buying better, which might not be more cost effective yet, but see the benefit in the long term? 

One way of doing it is by buying products made from Organic cotton. It contributes to the well-being of the planet. It also benefits the health of farmers mentally & physically. 

Buying organic cotton products is one aspect. Reducing consumption by choosing to buy good quality over more quantity also helps. It goes a long way to reduce the impact of climate change through lower greenhouse gas emissions. It might cost more in the short term, but it pays dividends in multiples in the longer term. 

Ready to make the switch to living a more compassionate life?